We now carry Aquaman triathlon wetsuits.
Visit their site at www.aquamantri.com
Triathlon visionary and Guru
Dan Empfield invented the modern triathlon wetsuit over
a decade ago. Since then wetsuits have become as common
as Speedos and Powerbars at triathlons.
Triathlon specific wetsuits provide
Two things are central to wetsuit use:
Fit and proper donning.
- Added safety. The additional buoyancy
acts as a kind of "Personal Floatation Device".
Although certainly no substitute for a Coast Guard approved
PFD, a wetsuit makes you float better. If you are a
weak or anxious swimmer this may add a margin of safety.
- Speed. This is what a wetsuit is designed
for. The crummier you are at swimming, the more advantage
a wetsuit offers. Expect big time savings from using
a properly fitted triathlon wetsuit. Wetsuits increase
buoyancy and hydrodynamics. Since water is much denser
than air, hydrodynamics in the swim are more critical
than aerodynamics on the bike.
- Warmth. Its 7:00AM. The water is
freezing. Unless you entertain fantasies of being a
Navy SEAL, cold water sucks. Your wetsuit will wrap
you in a warm cocoon of insulative neoprene. You may
never know just how cold the water is. Navy SEALs usually
use wetsuits anyway.
In order for a wetsuit to work
correctly while swimming, it has to fit snugly. Most people
put on the correct size wetsuit and say, "Its
too tight". The suit should not leak at neck and arm
holes. Although wetsuits (different from a drysuit) work
by trapping a layer of water between the skin and the neoprene,
and then warming that layer of water, it should not allow
a constant flow of new water between your skin and the suit.
Size charts on Quintana Roo and
Ironman wetsuits are very accurate. If you follow these
recommendations, your suit will fit correctly.
Putting your suit on correctly
is also key. Most people, probably 60%, I see at triathlons
are wearing their suit wrong, or it doesnt fit, or
Leave your socks on when you
put on your wetsuit. This helps your feet slide through
the legs without stretching out the neoprene or snagging
toenails. If you use a wetsuit lubricant to speed the removal
of the suit in the transition area, be sure to stick to
non-petroleum products like Bodyglide or Pam vegetable non-
stick cooking spray. Pull the bottom of the suit on like
a pair of running tights, tugging the legs up your body
being careful not to chip the smooth outer surface with
You should leave your socks on, then work the suit
up each leg.
Be sure the suit fits snugly against your crotch.
Be sure to pull the suit up high
on your legs and snug against your crotch. Dont wear
your wetsuit like Marky Mark wears his jeans. If the "pants"
section of the suit is too low on your body, it will cause
the top of the suit to fit poorly, affecting breathing and
stroke. Once the pants of the suit are on correctly, pull
up the top of the suit and put your arms through the holes
(on a sleeveless "Long John") or into the sleeves
if it is a full suit with long sleeves. On Long John suits
it is simply a matter of pulling the torso up, over your
tummy, and zipping the suit up, making sure the armholes
Pull the suit up over your tummy.
Full suits require the
arms to be pulled on correctly, or the suit will not work.
Be very careful to pull the sleeves of a full suit all the
way up your arms. There should be no space between the neoprene
in your armpit and your skin when you raise your arms. If
there is empty space, the arms arent pulled up high
enough. Often times, when the suit is on correctly, there
will be a little wrinkle of neoprene on top of your shoulder.
It is critical that the arms are pulled up all the way on
a full wetsuit.
It is critical that the arms on a full suit are pulled all
the way up.
Fullsuit or Longjohn?
Which is better?
Good question. Although it is
somewhat a matter of personal preference, in general:
Long John suits maintain your
"feel" for the water by leaving your arms free.
If your stroke count is high and you are not a great swimmer,
chances are you may feel more comfortable with a Long John
Full Suits, however, are faster
for most people. Central to using a full suit correctly
is getting it on right. Full suits are best for taller,
more experienced swimmers with a more powerful, longer stroke
and lower stroke count. Full suits radically affect the
way you swim and can conserve considerable every during
the swim portion of an event. How much? Heres an example
of my own from Ironman Canada 1997. These tests were conducted
on three consecutive days, swim distance is approximate:
|2.4 mile swim
|2.4 mile swim
||Long John wetsuit,
|2.4 mile swim
the effectiveness of a wetsuit in a race environment, not
only in terms of time savings, but also energy conservation.
Care of Wetsuits.
Triathlon specific wetsuits are
different from water-skiing, SCUBA or rafting wetsuits.
They are fragile race equipment and require careful use.
The suits are made to put on slowly, wearing socks, and
taking enough time to get the suit on correctly. Take care
not to "chip" or snag the surface of the suit
with your fingernails. Race wetsuits are made to take off
quickly when done correctly. Use a lubricant (Bodyglide
or Pam, NEVER Vaseline).
Never store the suit tightly
folded. Instead, let the suit air dry and hang it on a broad,
wide-shouldered hanger away from heating registers. Rinse
the suit off with clean, fresh water after swimming in a
pool or salt water. When you pack your suit in a race bag,
carry it inside out (nylon side out) to avoid chipping the
smooth neoprene skin. Pack loosely and be sure it is dry.
A light coating of bar soap on the zipper can make it work
smoothly, but washes off quickly.
High Speed Removal.
If you practice, you can get
your suit off in less than eight seconds from the waist.
Triathlon specific wetsuits are made to be removed quickly.
When you reach water that is
thigh deep, it is faster to run than swim. Stand up, grab
the zipper leash and pull the zipper down. Pull the top
of the suit off and let it flop around your waist. The manufacturers
logo is printed on the inside of the suit upside down so
it appears right side up in photos when you are running
up the beach. Run to your bike and grasp the suit on either
side of your hips. Firmly push the suit down your legs (1
second), Push the suit down again as far as it will go on
your legs, one leg at a time (3 seconds), steady yourself
by putting one hand on your bike or the bike rack. Step
on the left leg of the suit with your right foot and pull
your left leg up and out (2 seconds). Step on the right
leg of the suit with your free left foot and pull up with
your right foot (2 seconds).
If you practice this, you will
be able to get your suit off in 6-8 seconds. If you find
you must sit down to remove your suit, count on this adding
5-6 seconds to your transition time. Wetsuits always come
off quicker when you and the suit are wet.
Bikesport carries Quintana
Roo and Ironman brand wetsuits.
All wetsuits are fitted
in our store. We do not mail order wetsuits due to fit issues.
Contact Bikesport to set up a fitting!